Classic test-pieces revisited No 2: The Severn Suite

Prof Stephen Allen takes an in depth look at Edward Elgar's 'The Severn Suite' to find yet more intrigue and debate about its inspiration...

  Prof Stephen Allen takes a closer look at Elgar's masterful work for the brass band medium

In the second of a new series on 4BR, Prof Stephen Allen takes an in depth look at another classic work of the brass band medium to examine it in a wider context away from the contesting stage.

Severn Suite

His choice on this occasion is 'The Severn Suite' by Edward Elgar, a work originally written for the 1930 National Championships of Great Britain — but which has been subject to debate and intrigue ever since.

Stephen has been a great champion of Elgar's music and has written extensively about this work in particular, with a comprehensive analysis appearing in the academic publication, 'Musical Times'.

Here he takes 4BR Editor Iwan Fox through the composition and its inspiration, and how in his opinion it is inextricably linked to Elgar's feelings of personal loss and lack of spiritual faith rather than a series of picture postcard portraits of the city of Worcester and its surroundings...

in his opinion it is inextricably linked to Elgar's feelings of personal loss and lack of spiritual faith rather than a series of picture postcard portraits of the city of Worcester and its surroundings...4BR


You can find out more about the work linked to a performance in Stephen's own 90th anniversary critical edition with the Princetown Brass Band at:


The Presenter

Prof Stephen Allen PhD (D. Phil Oxon) is Professor in Popular Music at Rider University in New Jersey.


Become a supporter and help make our future secure.

4barsrest continues to be a proudly independent voice. There are no paywalls to overcome to be able to enjoy what we do to keep our journalism at the heart of the brass banding world. Support us with a one-off donation or subscribe from just £2.50 per month.

Support us    


Foden's launch lockdown podcasts

July 6 • The ever inventive Sandbach band is making sure it is reaching out to its fans all over the world.


Financial spotlight for Arts and culture sector with £1.57 billion support package

July 6 • The government announces huge one-off package of help, although questions are raised over help to performers and the phased return to full opening of venues.


Death of Pete Arden

July 6 • The City of Hull Band has announced the death of its respected tuba player and administrator Pete Arden.


Grimethorpe held Spellbound by Bronte

July 5 • An exciting new collaboration sees Grimethorpe Colliery Band bring Emily Bronte's 'Spellbound' poem to life...

Black Dyke Band - Cory - Brass on Sunday Gala Concert

Sunday 13 September • Symphony Hall, Broad Street, B12EA

Black Dyke Band - Swiss Nationals Gala Concert

Saturday 19 September • KKL, Europaplatz 1, 6005 Luzern, Switzerland 6000

Contest: Lower Section National Finals

Saturday 26 September • The Centaur, Cheltenham Racecourse.. GL50 4SH

Contest: Lower Section National Finals

Sunday 27 September • The Centaur, Cheltenham Racecourse. GL50 4SH

Contest: scaba Own Choice Test & Hymn tune

Sunday 27 September • The Hawth in Crawley, West Sussex RH10 6YZ

Newbridge Band

July 5 • Newbridge Celynen Brass Band are a 4th section band based in South Wales who have vacancies for the following seats:. . Front Row Cornets, Horns. Baritone, Euphonium. Bb Bass, Eb Bass. Tuned Percussion

Chadderton Band

July 3 • Chadderton Band is a non-contesting band playing at various events throughout the year. We are a friendly band looking for players of all ages and abilities on all sections EUPH and percussion. Come along to one of our rehearsals most welcome.

Amesbury Town Band

June 30 • Players and beginners of any standard are always warmly welcomed especially some more solo cornets and a spare percussionists to help out existing players. Feel free to drop in even if you just fancy a blow or want to try another instrument. After covid!

Brett Baker

BSc (Hons), ARCM, PG Dip
Rath clinician, conductor, teacher, adjudicator, editor


 © 2020 4barsrest.com Ltd